Time to replace serpentine belt and what else?



I have a 1998 Dodge Stratus and the serpentine belt has a few cracks in it.

I took my car to Midas and they said the serpentine belt needs to be replaced along with the idler pulleys.

I have heard that whenever you replace the serpentine belt you should also replace the timing belt and the water pump.

Is that true? Are there any other things I should replace at this time?

I would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

Car: 1998 Dodge Stratus

Miles: 165,000


I never heard that the Serpentine belt should be changed along with the timing belt and water pump.
if you have never changed your timing belt/water pump,your on borrowed time.
Stay away from Midas.


perhaps you heard it the wrong way…usually when you replace the timing belt you also change the other belts since they have to be taken off anyway. that way you only pay for the belts.


Good point!


I think you may be right about me misunderstanding.


Thanks for the response.

If you don’t mind, why should I stay away from Midas? I used to go to Jiffy Lube, but left them for Midas after hearing negatives about JL.


Do you know when the timing belt was last replaced? On your vehicle Chrysler recommends that it should be done @ 105,000. If it hasn’t been done you are on borrowed time and should get it done. If it has been done then just replace the serpentine belt and motor on.


Thanks for the response.

I will check the maintenance history on the vehicle.


If the serpentine belt looks original (and from your description, it does), I wouldn’t be that surprised if the timing belt is, also, original. If it is original, it could break the next time you sneeze. If you can’t find the shop work order showing the timing belt’s replacement, consider it original.


This is the web site of the company which makes timing belts (and other belts): http://www.gates.com/part_locator/index.cfm?location_id=3598e The 1998 Dodge Stratus came with three engines. Two of the engines are what are called “interference fit” engines: the 2.0L four cylinder, and the 2.5L V6 (six cylinder). When the timing belt slips, or breaks, the engine will be seriously, and expensively damaged. If it has the 2.4L four cylinder engine, and the timing belt fails, no damage should occur to the engine. BUT, the engine will, immediately stop and WON’T restart.


That timing belt and water pump are way overdue.
Just from memory here, it seems to me the 2.4 DOHC is an interference engine and damage will occur if the belt breaks.
The 2.4 SOHC is not an interference engine.

If it’s the DOHC then I would start to worry.


The problem isn’t with any one particular chain garage, but with chain garages in general. Firstly, the chains have lots of overhead the independant shops don’t have-- they have to pay for national and regional offices and national advertising. As a result, they usually can’t afford to hire experianced techs and they will always push services for which they have very high profit-margins, regardless of whether you need them or not. An independant mechanic who stays busy has no incentive to sell you stuff you don’t need and will treat you well because he has to in order to keep your buisness, whereas a chain generates new buisness through advertising and can afford to let a few customers leave because they did shoddy work or ripped someone off.

Midas is a franchise operation, though, so it is entirely possible that the people who run your local one are okay. Midas’ techs are better than Jiffy Lube’s because they handle more complicated repairs, so I would personally trust them to do routine maintinence, but I would be more wary of having them do anything really involved (such as a timing belt).


That makes sense. Thanks for explaining.


Thank you for that site. I have the 2.4L four cylinder engine. This is good information to know. I’d rather have my car stop than break the engine. Thanks.


Thanks. I took a look at the maintenance report and the belts were replaced at about 105,000 miles.